The UFC 296 post-fight press conference took an unexpected turn when middleweights Sean Strickland and Du Plessis got into a brief physical altercation. Strickland was seen on video punching Du Plessis before the two were quickly separated.
UFC President Dana White later took full responsibility for the scuffle, blaming himself for Strickland and Du Plessis being seated next to each other.
“What kind of an a**hole sits Strickland next to Du Plessis? This a**hole. That’s who,” White told reports. “I do every seating assignment every week.”
White explained that he simply made a mistake with the seating chart that he overlooked.
“It blows my mind that I let that slip. It just blows my mind that I missed that,” he continued.
The tensions between Strickland and Du Plessis stem from Du Plessis’ comments on Strickland’s childhood. Strickland and Du Plessis are expected to face each other at UFC 297 in January.
White reiterated that he does not condone stars getting physical at press events, despite the perception that he enjoys the drama it creates.
“Everybody thinks that I love when these type of things break it. No, I don’t love it. And more importantly, the commission doesn’t love it. And the commission is the government,” White declared.
So while the skirmish garnered attention, the UFC President made sure to deny allegations that he secretly encourages or enables such controversial confrontations.
White made clear that oversight will be ramped up going forward, saying “It’s my job to make sure that stuff doesn’t happen. If I wasn’t an a**hole, those two wouldn’t have been sitting next to each other.”
The full incident between Sean Strickland and Dricus Du Plessis at #UFC296 tonight.
— UFC (@ufc) December 17, 2023